PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. – Prince George's County's newest police recruit is hardly a rookie. Zeva is a seasoned veteran. She’s a 5-year-old black lab and a bomb dog from the military.
Zeva did two six-month tours in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps. But with the war effort winding down the military has more dogs than it needs. So even though Zeva has several good years ahead of her, she was headed for early retirement.
“She's been bred and trained to work, she loves to work,” said Cpl. Geoffrey Brown, Prince George's County Police K-9 Handler. “For her, just sitting at home on the couch, I don't think she'd be happy.”
ABC7 was invited to attend Zeva’s first day of field training with her handler. As part of the exercise, officers hid several simulated explosive devices in cars parked in a County parking lot, as well as in an open field. Zeva was then sent to search the parking lot. She found all the hidden devices.
The County police has claimed two former military bomb dogs, Zeva and Slick - also an Afghanistan war vet.
If the county was starting from scratch to buy a dog and train the dog, it’s about $30,000. But dogs like Zeva cost $5 and will be trained in a few weeks.
With the Boston bombings still on people's minds, Zeva and Slick give the County police five bomb dogs ready to serve, allowing the K-9 unit to cover more ground more quickly and be better able to handle big events like Redskins games.
“They are invaluable, invaluable,” said Cpl. Scott Allen, Prince George's County Police K-9 Handler. “With the changing world you never know what threats you are going to come up against day to day.”
Threats these dogs have already faced on a battlefield far away, with skills they'll use to keep the County they now call home safe.